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Florida Attorney General honors Largo police officer after jumping into lake, rescuing driver

Posted at 4:31 PM, Apr 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-26 18:36:34-04

LARGO, Fla. -- A Largo police officer is now the fourth person to receive the “Back the Blue" award from the Florida Attorney General’s Office.

Officer Jonathon DePierre with the Largo Police Department was surprised by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody Friday, when she showed up and presented him with the award.

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“Are you Officer DePierre?” She asked, as she smiled and walked over to him. She joked after the surprise and told us, "I think that he now knows from the shade of red his face turned, that goes well with the officer uniform in blue, right?”

"I had no idea what was going on and I was like what is happening?” Officer DePierre said when he first saw the Attorney General.

In January, Officer DePierre and four good Samaritans were hailed as heroes when they saved a women from drowning.

According to the Largo Police Department, the car drove into the pond around 3:39 p.m. Friday, January 7. The driver later told police officers she could not see because it was raining.

RELATED: Largo police officer jumps into lake, holds sinking driver's head above water during rescue

Stephanie Fletcher was a few cars behind the 73-year-old woman when she saw the car go into the pond. Fletcher pulled over. She said she jumped into the water along with three men.

"They (were) able to grab the back bumper and pull it more toward shore," Fletcher said.

Seconds after Fletcher got into the car and held the woman’s head above water by her shoulders, Officer DePierre showed up and traded places with Fletcher. He was able to get her legs free from under the steering wheel and pull her out to safety. The woman suffered minor injuries.

Moody told ABC Action News she saw the story on and was immediately struck by their courage.

"When I read the story and learned more about the incident, I immediately thought how lucky the woman was that he became a police officer,” she said. “It just shows what a community can do in a very trying and dangerous time.”

It’s why she chose DePierre to be the fourth recipient of an award that’s brand new to the Attorney General’s office. The “Back the Blue” award, "highlights law enforcement officers, citizens and organizations taking extraordinary steps to forge positive relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”

She chose to surprise him because she says, “surprises are more fun.”

Officer DePierre continues to say he isn’t a hero, just an officer that did his job. But he says it’s a honor to be recognized.

"We don’t do this job to get recognized but when someone takes the time in their day and put all this together for someone… that's special,” he said.

He also says he couldn’t have done what he did without the support of those community members.

"They're the real heroes here for sure," he said. Fletcher said she couldn't have done it without the help of everyone else.

"God put me in that position at that time to be there to help that lady. I was blessed to be there for her," Fletcher said.